Stereo Leg prosthetic created for Victoria Modesta  by Sophie Oliveira Barata, The Alternative Limb Project, represents the shift to making disability and accessibility solutions aesthetic and expressive.



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For student and professional designers who see a world that is not only free of barriers – but freely admired for its beauty and innovation.

Introducing an international architectural design competition with $11,000 in cash awards.

Organized by North Coast Community Homes, providing homes for persons with disabilities for more than three decades, with generous support from the Cleveland Foundation.

More than a competition – A New Way of Design Thinking.

ZeroThreshold is a design competition that is about more than creating accessible spaces. It’s about elevating the idea of accessibility through intentionally beautiful design.

This competition is an important step in changing the conversation about accessibility. Not only will it launch Cleveland towards being the world’s best “barrier- free city”, the solutions that surface can be broadly applicable to cities throughout the United States and around the world.

Winning entries will receive monetary awards and be featured in an exhibition and publication. The strongest and most innovative awards may be constructed in a future second phase of the competition.

The neighborhood of Old Brooklyn, located in Cleveland, Ohio, serves as inspiration and a grounding point for our architects and designers.

Stay informed with news and other important updates: click here.

About

“Inspiration comes from The (dis)Abled Beauty Exhibition, Showcasing the most incredible and artistic solutions for people with missing limbs and other challenges such as hearing loss. If we could completely change our thinking about human solutions, can we disrupt the conversation on accessibility?”

– Suzanne Seifert, CEO NCCH


Schedule

Release of Competition Brief – 7 January 2019
Question & Answer Period – 7 January – 31 May 2019
Early Registration Deadline – 8 March 2019
Standard Registration Deadline – 31 May 2019
Late Registration Deadline – 28 June 2019
Submission Deadline – 28 June 2019
Awards Announcement – TBD
Awards Event – 19 September 2019

Awards + Recognition

A Total of $11,000 US dollars and other recognitions will be awarded as follows:

Grand Prize$4,000*
Retrofit - Colonial/Duplex$2,000
Single Family - New Construction$1,000
Accessory Dwelling Unit$1,000
Community Gathering Space$1,000
Holistic/Neighborhood Approach$1,000
Student Award$1,000**
*the grand prize is awarded in addition to the specific category prize that the entry is submitted for. ** the student award is awarded to the best student submission from any category.

Eligibility

• The competition is open to design students and professionals, working individually or on teams. • Student submissions may be the product of work in a design studio or related class. • Judging of competition entries will occur anonymously. Submissions must designate a primary contact person for communication purposes only. • Staff and Board members of North Coast Community Homes, and all competition partners and advisors are prohibited from participating in the competition. • No jury member may advise or assist a competitor in any way. • Entrants assisted by any competition partner or jury member will be disqualified.

Competition Structure

Zero Threshold is an ideas competition for a real-world problem. In this first phase of the competition, entrants are encouraged to envision bold and innovative ideas for housing, public spaces, and neighborhoods that expand the practice of accessible design and barrier-free living.

A later phase of the competition will advance the strongest ideas into implementation…

Evaluation Criteria

Competition entries will be evaluated based on:

• Accessibility: Readily usable by people with varying degrees of physical ability.

• Responsiveness: Understanding the needs of people with disabilities and conveying the ways that your proposal addresses those needs in an innovative and design-forward manner.

• Innovation: Bold new ideas or new variations on established best practices in accessible design that reframe accessible elements as something to be celebrated, rather than hidden or downplayed.

• Transferability: Concepts that apply to the specific physical, social, and economic context of Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood (see Inspiration section of this website) but can also be adapted to other places.

• Affordability: Housing solutions that are economically accessible to middle-income households and aligned with housing values in middle neighborhoods.

Competition Programs + Categories

Entrants are invited to submit conceptual designs for one or a combination of these categories:

1) New Residential Construction for an infill site in an urban neighborhood: Design for a new, fully accessible house on an infill lot that fits into the context of a traditional neighborhood while advancing new ideas about the aesthetics of accessibility. We do not expect full house plans, just conceptual designs. See the attached map for examples of infill sites in the target neighborhood for the competition.

2) Accessory Dwelling: Accessory dwelling units can be detached from the primary structure, attached to the primary structure, or a repurposed existing space, like a garage or a spare bedroom within the primary residence that is converted into a fully accessible, independent living unit.

3) Housing Retrofit/Remodel: Design ideas that transform traditional urban housing for maximum accessibility. Two housing types—a single-family Cleveland bungalow and a two-family duplex are the focus of the retrofit category. See attached photos and floor plans for representative examples of these housing types. Please note: it is not necessary to provide detailed construction drawings. Entrants should provide drawings and descriptions that best characterize accessibility improvements through graphics that visually convey innovative aspects of your proposal.

4) Community Gathering Place: Landscape design/urban design for a vacant lot (or lots) that create an inclusive, barrier-free places for neighborhood residents to interact. See the attached map for examples of vacant lots in the target neighborhood for the competition.

5) Neighborhood-wide/Holistic Approach to Accessibility: Urban design strategies that remove barriers and embrace an entire block or neighborhood.

6) Student Submissions: Students can submit in any of the previous five categories. Student submissions will be juried separately from professional submissions.

7) Hybrid Submissions: (content to come)

Register

Entering the competition is a two-step process.

Step One

Participants will register for one or more categories by completing the registration form and paying the registration fee by credit card or PayPal.

There are 5 distinct categories for the competition: Retrofit of existing colonial or duplex, single family new construction, an accessory dwelling unit, a community engagement or gathering space, a holistic or neighborhood approach.

Professional designers, students, and others may enter one or more categories by selecting the appropriate quantity.

 

Registration fees are as follows:

RegisterEarly
01/07/19 - 03/08/19
Standard
03/09/19 - 05/31/19
Late
06/01/19 - 06/28/19
Professionals$100$200$300
Studio or Class$150$250$300
Student (Individual)$0$50$75

Step Two

After participants complete their registration, they will receive an email within 48 hours providing a link to the submission site. Registrants can enter their submission anytime between the date they register and the end of the submission deadline, June 28, 2019. NOTE: registrants are not locked into a specific category until they make a digital submission to that category. Registration allows for submission.

Upon digital submission to a category, a $100 printing and processing fee will be incurred by participants for each individual submission. Participants will not have to print or ship their own boards, as this service is provided as part of the competition.

Awards

Awards are available for each category and include both a grand prize and special student prize.

Grand Prize$4,000*
Retrofit - Colonial/Duplex$2,000
Single Family - New Construction$1,000
Accessory Dwelling Unit$1,000
Community Gathering Space$1,000
Holistic/Neighborhood Approach$1,000
Student Award$1,000**
*the grand prize is awarded in addition to the specific category prize that the entry is submitted for. ** the student award is awarded to the best student submission from any category.

In addition to the above cash awards, at the juries discretion, some entries will receive honorable mentions based on anything from innovation to buildability, or some other characteristic or category not yet defined.

Select entries, including those winning a cash award or receiving an honorable mention, will also be included in a published coffee table style book. Winners of prizes or honorable mentions will receive a free copy of the book.

registration

Inspiration




In the real-world neighborhood of Old Brooklyn in Cleveland, OH, there are existing bungalows, duplexes, empty lots, accessory dwellings, and shared community spaces. Ultimately, accessibility encompasses many things: physical structures, accessibility features, affordability, and, potentially, community engagement. For this reason, we’ve selected this neighborhood with multiple typographies for your inspiration.

Your idea should be transferrable to a neighborhood like Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn. By using this setting as your inspiration, your idea will be more real, more practical for every day life, and easier to assimilate into similar settings that exist in cities around the world.

You can do it! Take a deep dive into an innovative new construction. Renovate an old home. Fill an empty space. Add to an existing home. Your imagination is your limitation. And Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn is your inspiration.

Your design will be evaluated on five key design tenants:

• Accessibility: The ability to be readily usable by people with varying degrees of physical ability.

• Responsiveness: Understanding the needs of people with disabilities and conveying the ways that your proposal addresses those needs in an innovative and design-forward manner.

• Innovation: Bold new ideas or new variations on established best practices in accessible design that reframe accessible elements as something to be celebrated, rather than hidden or downplayed.

• Transferability: Concepts that apply to the specific physical, social, and economic context of Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood (see Inspiration section of this website) but can also be adapted to other places.

• Affordability: Housing solutions that are economically accessible to middle-income households and aligned with housing values in middle neighborhoods.

FAQs & Forum

(content to come)

Partners

Visit our Partners

This competition would not be possible without the support of our amazing partners. Learn more here.


LEAD PARTNER – NORTH COAST COMMUNITY HOMES
North Coast Community Homes (NCCH) provides high quality, community-based homes throughout Northeast Ohio for people with developmental disabilities, severe mental illness, and other disabilities. With the support of many donors, volunteers, and professionals, we have developed and manage more than 220 community-based homes serving more than 1,000 men and women since 1984. In keeping with our mission, homes developed by NCCH are safe, comfortable, and affordable, and are designed to empower persons with disabilities to live fuller, more independent lives. Working with County Boards of Developmental Disabilities and local mental Health agencies, North Coast Community Homes has homes in more than 60 cities across Northeast Ohio.


FUNDER – THE CLEVELAND FOUNDATION
The Cleveland Foundation’s mission is to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come, by working together with donors to build community endowment, address needs through grantmaking, and provide leadership on key community issues. The foundation sees the Zero Threshold design challenge as an opportunity to begin the journey towards transforming Cleveland into the world’s best barrier-free city. As such, the organization is proud to provide the financial support to such a forward-thinking initiative.


C C HODGSON ARCHITECTURAL GROUP
C C Hodgson Architectural Group is an architectural firm providing wellness-based design services to visionary clients who are passionate about creating healing environments. Driven by an unwavering belief that environments affect behavior and well-being – that design matters – they apply fresh thinking and innovation. Pioneering wellness design for more than 40 years, many of the concepts they helped bring forward, such as the first research study to track wellness in senior living communities, are now embraced by senior living communities across the nation.


CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRESS
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress was founded in 1988 by philanthropic, civic, and corporate leaders. It serves as the only local community development intermediary in the region. Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is leading the revitalization of Cleveland’s neighborhoods. It impacts the community by providing financial support, training and capacity building efforts to community development corporations (CDCs), supporting and performing placemaking activities to improve residential, commercial and greenspace properties, and delivering economic opportunity programming to ensure city residents can thrive where they live.


CLEVELAND URBAN DESIGN COLLABORATIVE (CUDC)
The Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) is the combined home of the urban design graduate program at Kent State University and the public service activities of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. The CUDC’s professional staff of designers are committed to improving the quality of urban spaces through technical design assistance, research and advocacy. Supported by the university and private philanthropy, the CUDC offers architectural and urban design expertise in the service of urban communities, design professionals, and non-profit and academic partners in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.


MAXIMUM ACCESSIBLE HOUSING OF OHIO
Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio (MAHO) provides and promotes accessibility for all people, at home and in the community. The extensive accessibility features in our Vistas Apartment Communities provide over 150 people with disabilities with the opportunity to live more independently. Our Anderson Center for Accessible Living promotes accessible housing and inclusive communities through education and outreach. We are acutely aware of the need for accessible housing and hope that the Zero Threshold Design Competition will provide inspiration and impetus for development of more accessible housing.


OLD BROOKLYN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation is a non-profit in the Cleveland community with the mission to develop and revitalize the community by uniting and empowering residents, business leaders, and government around plans and initiatives to achieve social, economic and civic improvement. Old Brooklyn and Cleveland are changing, and that change is the result of many factors. Many of these factors: demographics, the regional economy, and market sensitivities, lie outside the control of individual organizations. We hope the Zero Threshold competition will be a launching point for additional growth, development, and opportunity for Old Brooklyn, Cleveland, and beyond.


Contact Us

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We’ll only email you when we have important new information to share about the Zero Threshold competition!

Jurors

Juror Three


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Juror Two


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Juror One


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Artistically designed prosthesis